Fidel +10

Looks like another marketing triumph by Adidas over Nike: The first photographs of the ailing commandante supremo aimed at showing that he’s on the mend showed that Fidel Castrol has lost none of his inimitable sense of style. That certainly ain’t no hammer and sickle perched boldly on his warmup suit as he mugs with a copy of Granma (a paper in which I was once rebuked for falling prey to imperialist schemes). And while they’re unlikely to follow in the idiom of their brilliant World Cup ads by making the Fidel +10 spot — although I’d happily write the script (young Fidel and Raul square off in a childhood garden, picking legendary fighters for their armies in an imaginary war-game… Fidel: “Jose Marti!” Raul: “Lenin!” Fidel: “Bolivar!” Raul: “Zapata!” Fidel: “Sandino!” Raul: “Trotsky!” Fidel: “Trotsky?!! [Laughs mockingly.] Mao!” etc.) — even while Adidas may not know it, the Fidel ad is a huge banding boom, blessing the street fashion marriage of the German sportswear icon with Che kitsch. And think about, which hip kids would possibly want to dress like Fidel’s enemies, the Miami Cubans and their man in the White House?

Talking of Fidel, BTW, great article in today’s Guardian by Duncan Campbell stressing why even after Fidel is out of the picture, Cubans themselves will decide their own history, and their choices are unlikely to be those demanded by Washington and the Miami crew, who are regarded with fear and suspicion by most Cubans. Campbell offers up a great opener:

“It may be as the pages of history are turned, brighter futures and better times will come to Cuba,” wrote Winston Churchill in 1895. “It may be that future years will see the island as it would be now, had England never lost it – a Cuba free and prosperous under just laws and patriotic administration, throwing open her ports to the commerce of the world, sending her ponies to Hurlingham and her cricketers to Lords.”

Not cricket: Fidel watches Che putt home in headier days

Cute conclusion, too (and I’ll have more to say on Fidel and his legacy later):

If the Bush administration is really interested in more than score-settling and vote-catching, it should lift the embargo immediately so that Cuba can, as Churchill imagined, throw open its ports to the commerce of the world and allow US citizens to visit the island and see for themselves whether it is heaven, hell or something else entirely. The “battle of ideas” that Castro has recently been urging Cubans to engage in should continue in earnest, with a place for every voice and every idea. Imperial powers past or present should keep their hands off. Pity about the cricket, though.

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12 Responses to Fidel +10

  1. lova says:

    “trotsky ?”[laughs mockingly]”
    very nicely done ! I wonder how long it will take before Castro’s pictures reach “Che like “chic. I doubt it will happen. But it sure feels like the world is hungry for a Che redux 😉

  2. Tony says:

    Sometimes an icon is created not by his image, but by his accoutrements. I remember Salman Rushdie noticing that by the time he had visited Nicaragua, Sandino had been transformed from a photograph of a man in a wide-brimmed hat leaning on a rifle, to a silouette of a man with a hat leaning on a rifle, to simply a wide-brimmed hat, hovering Magritte-like in space. Well, if Fidel hadn’t given up smoking, he could have become simply a cigar. Speaking personally (and as a barbudo myself) I’d say we may have to settle for a disembodied bear…

  3. lova says:

    Agreed. However, the beard as an “iconic symbol” (redundant ?) is already established by ZZ top. I wonder if Bachelet’s glasses have this kinf of pull.

  4. Jorge says:

    How in the world does anyone expect Cuba to withstand U.S. pressure once Fidel’s gone?

    The pressure will be so great it is a given that the Cuba of tomorrow will include strong U.S. influence.

    Mexico is a prime example of what the U.S. wants, the U.S. gets.

    The only reason Cuba has been able to resist U.S. influence since ’59 is that Fidel himself would not give in. I cannot imagine another singular personality that is going to carry Cuba after the Fidel years – not even Raul.

    Eventually, the desire to care for his countrymen will lead a future Cuban leader to crumble to the U.S.’s will.

  5. Lewis Ray says:

    Fidal was a different fellow. It was interesting watching his regiem. Raul will not be able to run things the same way- but then again Fidal will still be running things behind the curtins.

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